Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Small Spaces Tour: Funky Scandinavian Design in 36sqm Apartment, Stockholm, Sweden.

When I stumbled up on this apartment conversion by Karin Matz Arkitekt I had to share it.  For two reasons.  Firstly, I am obsessed with small spaces and clever design.  A bit geeky I know, but I do enjoy my own small space where I am constantly looking to create more space and flow.  Secondly I really needed to record this renovation as a personal archive.  I know I will refer back to in it time for inspiration when I come to renovate my dream barn or warehouse conversion.

The apartment been empty since 1980.  The previous owner had began renovations during this time and fell ill.  The space was untouched until his death.  With wallpaper half removed, no electricity and a bathroom that only had signs of rats, it got a major overhaul.

At a tiny 36sqm the Architecture's brief was to create all that the new owner wanted.  This included generous spaces, airy sensation, walk in closet, all appliances for everyday life, a large luxury shower and bath, different possibilities of movement and space and finally it had to be light and inexpensive!

Have a look for yourself.  The results are amazing.  The wallpaper half on the walls creates that industrial look and seems to fit really well here.

(images / Karin Matz Arkitekt)

Monday, 28 July 2014

Beach, Bedding and Blueberries. My Week in Pictures.

The simple life is the best life.  Nothing is better than a roasted marshmallow.

Cutwork Classic, Hand Embroidered Collection, Laura Thomas Linens 

Loire, Hand Embroidered Collection, Laura Thomas Linens

It's been a PR focused week conversing with some very creative and inspirational bloggers. Love Curate & Display and

2 handfuls of blueberries, 1 banana, coconut flakes, chai seeds, coconut milk and dollop of local honey.

Kids golf in the sunshine.

Saturday afternoon yoga on the beach.  It's a good life..

(photography / Laura Thomas)

Saturday, 26 July 2014

7 Tips on How to Style a Mirror in your Home

I first came across an over sized mirror with a twist in my early years while living in New Zealand. A friend had the most enormous mirror in the hallway of her traditional wooden villa.  It was propped up against the wall as you walked in on the right hand side.  I can distinctly remember the statement it made and it would always attract my attention to my feet when I visited.

At the onset I wondered (my own opinion here) whether the giant mirror would look better hung. However this style of floor to ceiling reflection has grown in popularity.  The individuality of placing a mirror is such a personal choice and there are no hard and fast rules on where to place them.  My own style and love of mirrors has expanded past my norm (above the fireplace) and I'm always on the hunt for a mirror when I visit bric-a-brac or second hand stores to add light and fun to my home.

1/ Use a Mirror to Expand a Space

(image via The Design Chaser)

Large mirrors go hand in hand with small spaces.  Want to make a darker area brighter?  Use a mirror and pop a spot light beside or behind it, creating shine and a corner glow.

2/ Multiple Mirrors Give a Light Airy Impression

(image via UK House & Garden)

These vintage mirrors have an arty impression as well as filling the hallway with an abundance of light.

3/ Match a Mirror to the Flow of your Home

(image via The Design Chaser)

The mirror placed here adds to the flow of this space from one room to the other.  This in turns creates the illusion of a bigger space.

4/ Reflecting the Flow of Energy

(image via The Bower Bird)

Getting a little deep and meaning here.. but mirrors can change the flow, the Chi or feng shui energy of any given space.  Think about placing one in your home office, reflecting your energy and light as well as bringing a sense of refreshment and calm to your space.

5/ Use a Mirror as Art

(image via Parsi)

By adding stick on words or simply stencilling on a sentence or phrase you can double your mirror as a light reflector and typography art.

6/ Mirrors of Intent

(image via Babble)

Use a mirror to add wattage to your true self.  Remember what a mirror sees, it doubles.  So if you are really focused on an intention, you can use a mirror to symbolically double it.  Personally for me there is nothing better than good food with people I love.  A mirror beside a dining area reflects my intention of this.

7/ Focal Point Mirrors

(image via Adore Your Place)

(image via Down and Out Chic)

Create a statement with a mirror in the bedroom.  Positivity breeds positivity so be sure to smile at your yourself everyday...

Monday, 21 July 2014

Laura Thomas Soy Candles: Lavender

Lavender farming in the UK was a topic of discussion with our Sunday visitors today.  Does the UK actually have lavender farms?  Well, after I'd done some research the answer is yes.

A sea of purple gently swaying in the wind for as far as the eye can see conjures up images of regions in France, such as Provence.  Even the English word lavender is generally thought to be derived from Old French; lavandre.

My Mother-in-Law's best friend was the first woman in New Zealand to set up a lavender farm in the late ninety's.  So I've heard some lovely pioneering stories about farming lavender in the Southern Hemisphere.  It had never occurred to me that Lavender was a farming practice in the UK.

( Cotswold Lavender, Gloucester, UK)

Best Known Sleep Aid

Lavender is a fragrance I simply adore.  From cute vintage fabric bags filled with lavender flowers for my drawers as a child to drops of lavender oil in my bath as an adult to aid relaxation, there is something deeply comforting, as well as invigorating about the scent of lavender that makes me feel charged and alive.

It was for this reason that when I introduced my new Laura Thomas Soy Candles in October 2013 (read about them here) the obvious first scent I wanted to use was lavender.  One of the best known sleep aid and treatment of insomnia, I can't recommend enough going to bed with a room filled with the smell of lavender.

What We Know About the Benefits of Lavender

Research shows that the scent of lavender eases anxiety and insomnia.

In one study done at the UK's Southampton University tracked the sleep patterns of 10 adults.  For a week, half of the participants slept in a room where lavender essential oil was diffused in the air throughout the night.  The other half snoozed in a similar room where a placebo of sweet almond oil was released.  After a week, the groups switched rooms.  At the end of the study, the volunteers ranked the quality of their sleep 20% better on average when in the lavender-scented room.

In another study, Psychologists at Wesleyan University in the US asked 31 men and women to sniff lavender essential oil one night, then distilled water the next, for four 2-minute periods just before bedtime. The researchers monitored their sleep cycles with brain scans.  On the night they whiffed the lavender, subjects slept more soundly and they also felt more energetic the next morning.

The researchers found that lavender increased slow-wave sleep, the very deep slumber in which the heartbeat slows and muscles relax. During this phase, the brain is thought to organise memory, as well.

Laura Thomas Soy Candles

My candles are now back in stock in store at Laura Thomas Linens.  Made with essential oil of lavender (made in New Zealand) and no artifical fragrance they are definitely smelly and I can guarantee they will create a sophisticated scent and dress any room or bedroom.  They are 100% soy wax and have a high burn time and are great value for money.

Laura Thomas Linens

6 oz / 170g £10 burn time approx 27 hours  |  8 oz / 227g £13 burn time approx 30 hours  

 Shop here

(Photography / Laura Thomas)

New batch now in stock.

 (photography / Laura Thomas)

(Photography / Jess Burges Exposure Photographics)

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Get The Look: Hanging Round Mirror with Leather Strap (aka) Captains Mirrors.

Currently trending at the moment are the fabulous circular mirrors that appear to be hung on the wall via a leather strap.  A clever illusion as the strap is merely for the look and the mirror is hung as per a conventional mirror.

I need your help here.  Should I spend £45 buying one from John Lewis (which happens to be the most reasonably priced around that I can find) or should I make my own?  Decisions, decisions...

(image / John Lewis)

Looking for a DIY version, I found this great tutorial from House & Home that makes it look super easy and cheap using a big Ikea mirror.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Summer Light

Ok, so I was not in the office this afternoon...

Summer holidays mean only one thing.  Fun.  I enjoy making the most of my girl's childhoods and building a lovely bank of memories for and with them.  Both time and people are two things that can never be got back.

The light is so beautiful at this time of year.  The days are long and the light reclaims the colours of day.  It's so enjoyable to look at the summer colours that are our surroundings and soak them up even if it's just for a second.

The perfect end to a perfect day.  Roasted marshamallows on a beach camp fire.

 (Images / Laura Thomas)

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

10 Ways to Decorate with Fairy Lights

Fairy lights are on my mind this week.  They are fun and there is nothing better than a house that oozes relaxed functionality. 

Not to be used only at Christmas, these twinkly pieces of art and can be used in so many ways around the house.

I'm currently living in a small space having fun tweaking and moving around furniture and decor.  One piece of advice that has always stuck with me was an interior designer who advised her thoughts on living in a new house.  She was correct in saying "move, move and move again the furniture and art in your house until you are 100% happy with it".

 I'm looking for some inspiration for my decision as to where to place festoon fairy lights above my dining table.  Do I hang them diagonally above the table or drape them over the wall to the back of the table that needs well lit in winter months?  More on this in another post..

10 Ways to Decorate with Fairy Lights

1- Twist fairy lights around a wooden, wire or rope word.

2- Drape festoon lights over a dining area.

3- Pin lights to the wall to form luminated art.

4- DIY style.  Plain lights with a personal decorative touch.

5- Around a large mirror reflecting the light.

6- Over antlers.

7- Festoon lights used as a headboard.

8- Pretty and fun on a bannister.

9- Twinkle, twinkle little jar.

10- Fairy lights used to hang family photos.

(image via Lights4fun )

(All images unless otherwise stated are from Pinterest)